Feminism/Sexism and Gaming/Geek/Popular culture Catch All

Stengah:

I don't really care for what passes for "a pass." I'm never going to please everyone, and I've resigned myself to being misunderstood, often intentionally, at every turn. I often hear that this is a welcoming community. It doesn't feel that way a lot of times.

I've made my mixed thoughts on this topic abundantly clear almost at the outset. What more can I possibly do or say? You guys say that being different is a very hard thing to be in the US. I can understand what you mean, now.

I keep seeing you say that you've been abundantly clear and then you get dismissive. I think possibly you are not coming across as clear as you believe.

Yellek wrote:

I keep seeing you say that you've been abundantly clear and then you get dismissive. I think possibly you are not coming across as clear as you believe.

I think Larry has been very clear. He's asked some questions in good faith, given his opinion while going out of his way to be clear they are his own opinions and not anything broader, yet people continue to put words in his mouth and make snide comments.

It's quite troubling.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
Yellek wrote:

I keep seeing you say that you've been abundantly clear and then you get dismissive. I think possibly you are not coming across as clear as you believe.

I think Larry has been very clear. He's asked some questions in good faith, given his opinion while going out of his way to be clear they are his own opinions and not anything broader, yet people continue to put words in his mouth and make snide comments.

It's quite troubling.

I think his reaction to the answers he gets are where he's being most unclear. That it's only his opinion that "but she does it to herself so it's okay" doesn't make it any better. The insistence that her being trans is the entirety of her story and somehow makes the blatant sexual objectification from the pictures he posted okay doesn't make it better, even if it's only his opinion. I mean, in one she's got some tentacles wrapped around her boobs apparently trying to take her top off, in the other she's posing with an extremely phallic screw pressed between her boobs. Personally I think that'd make the objectification worse since apparently all her motivations come from her gender and sexuality. It'd be easier to see it as a grey area if she was a fully developed character, with the gender issues she deals with merely being one part of character. That he's not the target audience doesn't mean it's all of a sudden not sexist. That she's got a reason in her back story to hyper-sexualize her super-hero self doesn't mean it's not sexist.

It all screams of Strong Female Characters!

My So-Called Secret Identity

All her life, Cat's been taught to be little, learned to keep herself small, tried to avoid attention. Don't be too full of yourself. Don't show off. And most of all, don't let people know how smart you are, because they don't like it.

But Cat really is someone special. Cat is the smartest person in Gloria City. She remembers everything she reads; she knows how everything connects. And she's getting tired of pretending, of hiding, of acting dumb to save other people's feelings.

And if they won't take her seriously as Catherine Abigail Daniels, the student and cop's kid, maybe they'll take her seriously in costume.

First installment is pretty great. Already donated and looking forward to more.

That is a pretty cool comic so far. Looking forward to where it's going.

I constantly picked on my wife for reading GRRM's "nerd books," as I teasingly referred to them.

That is, until she somehow convinced me to watch the HBO series with her, after which I had to go back and read them all myself.

I think the general truth about that list of shows is that if you make something good, you don't have to really care about any "target demographic." People of all sorts tend to like good things. SVU is kind of a head scratcher, though...

So I ran across this article:

Gory, Raunchy, and Bro-Filled TV Series Are a Hit With Women: Programmers know something marketers don’t

and it got me thinking about a couple of other things I've read that challenge what I think is a 'common sense' view of what is and is not female friendly when it comes to media. I figured I'd list a couple of things that have caught my eye recently (although we've always know that lots of women like Law & Order).

from that article[/url]]It may come as a surprise to many that the highest-rated cable show among women year to date is AMC’s The Walking Dead, far outstripping more conventionally female-targeted programs like The Real Housewives of Atlanta. According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, the Feb. 10 mid-season Walking Dead premiere drew a meaty 5.0 rating/11 share among women 18-49, nearly double that of its nearest competition.

Emily from JazzHate on Game of Thrones[/url]]Sure, there are women who attend sci-fi conventions and name-drop characters like "Daenerys" and "Cersei," but Martin's fan club call themselves the "Brotherhood Without Banners," for freak's sake. A nerd friend of mine who has read the books refers to them as "Boy Twilight," explaining that they "hit certain masculine pleasure centers" such as "sentimental men doing their duty," "amoral warriors drinking and wenching" and "and doing the right thing even if it kills you." (It's no makeover montage.)

But despite the serious nerd vibes emanating from this operation, I am totally into it! And so is every woman I know.

Lindy West[/url]]Hey, ladies. Can we gab for a second? Lady-style? Because I have a real serious question. What IS IT with us and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit? Like, I absolutely hate horror movies (because NO), but I, and a lot of other women I know, will watch an SVU marathon for literally days.

HBO Entertainment president Sue Naegle[/url]]“I think it’s a misconception that men are prototypically the ones into horror or sci-fi, but women love a good scare just like a man does,” said Naegle, adding that True Blood’s audience is 60% female.

while on the other hand regarding the show Girls[/url]]A full 56 percent of the show's so-called "linear" audience (anybody who watches the premiere or any of the week's rebroadcasts live or through a DVR) is male; 44 percent is female. By comparison, viewership for True Blood last summer was 52 percent female

Women, like all people, can enjoy pandering just as they might enjoy quality programming. Because I am pretty sure there is not a universal woman, or any universal person. Most people seem to have individual tastes and wants.

I am a little fuzzy on SVU. Is that the one with Vincent D'onofrio or the one with Mariska Hargitay?

gore wrote:

I constantly picked on my wife for reading GRRM's "nerd books," as I teasingly referred to them.

That is, until she somehow convinced me to watch the HBO series with her, after which I had to go back and read them all myself.

I think the general truth about that list of shows is that if you make something good, you don't have to really care about any "target demographic." People of all sorts tend to like good things. SVU is kind of a head scratcher, though...

But... but... you're a huge nerd. And you were teasing her?

I'm a little surprised that people would be surprised at Tru Blood's female following.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
gore wrote:

I constantly picked on my wife for reading GRRM's "nerd books," as I teasingly referred to them.

That is, until she somehow convinced me to watch the HBO series with her, after which I had to go back and read them all myself.

I think the general truth about that list of shows is that if you make something good, you don't have to really care about any "target demographic." People of all sorts tend to like good things. SVU is kind of a head scratcher, though...

But... but... you're a huge nerd. And you were teasing her?

I hadn't read a book with a dragon on the cover in like, 15 years.

Now I'm backsliding

Bloo Driver wrote:

I'm a little surprised that people would be surprised at Tru Blood's female following.

As am I, based on my wife's description of the books, I could never watch it, but my wife likes it.

Interestingly, Steph is also way more into Walking Dead and Breaking Bad than I am. I'll watch it with her while playing Skyrim, but I can't just sit and watch either of these shows... dunno what it is about them.

Bloo Driver wrote:

I'm a little surprised that people would be surprised at Tru Blood's female following.

Yeah, every male protagonist fits another hottie archetype. Bill is the valiant gentleman, Eric the bad boy with a heart of gold, Alcide the strong tough teddybear, ...

dejanzie wrote:
Bloo Driver wrote:

I'm a little surprised that people would be surprised at Tru Blood's female following.

Yeah, every male protagonist fits another hottie archetype. Bill is the valiant gentleman, Eric the bad boy with a heart of gold, Alcide the strong tough teddybear, ...

Jason as the fun athlete type. anyways...

The 'surprise' (if you want to call it that) is that the boobs & blood didn't preclude the development of that following; that in fact, it may actually have helped it. Sometimes it seems--to me at least--like this debate can assume that the more 'classy' something is, the more female-friendly it is. I don't think that's true, or at least, the answer is a complex one.

Speaking of, that reminds me of an interview with Tristan Taormino I just read about this topic; the interviewer asked "I’m kind of curious, what do you think of descriptors like “porn for women” or “porn for couples”?":

The connection between “porn for women” and “porn for couples” and “feminist porn” is a complicated one, which I think is also revealed in the book, because on the one hand there is the genre called porn for women and it is both a precursor and part of feminist porn. So feminists, obviously, have been making porn since the late ’70s and early ’80s, so this idea of feminist porn isn’t a new one, but it certainly has taken hold in a different way, I think, in the past decade. So on the one hand what “porn for women” as a category did was it acknowledged that women can watch, buy and consume porn, which now people would say to that “duh,” but back in the time of Candida Royalle, that was a radical notion. People laughed in her face. They were like, “No, no, no, honey, 99.99 percent of viewers are men. You are crazy.” Then, of course, she proved everyone wrong. So, by proving that this category even existed, and that female viewers existed, that’s a crucial piece of how we think about porn today.

On the flip side, there certainly are plenty of women I hear from who say, “I watched this so-called ‘porn for women’ and it doesn’t turn me on, and I can totally get the politics of it, but, man, it doesn’t get me off.” In some case it’s because some people consider porn for women to be a softer, gentler, nicer porn and, of course, we got to interrogate and criticize that notion as well. I mean, I think the trouble with even thinking that there even is porn for women is that it assumes a singular female viewer, which isn’t fair and isn’t true. For some people, romance really provides a context for porn, and it really does help them get off on and connect with porn movies. But for other people, they just want to take their underwear off and they just want to see other people take their underwear off too. They don’t need a big story line or a plot or Hollywood production values to make that happen. So, it’s important that this thing exists called “porn for women,” but I don’t want it to box us in and define this as the only porn women want to watch, or should watch.

Bloo Driver wrote:

I'm a little surprised that people would be surprised at Tru Blood's female following.

I think the surprise was in the fact that the male viewership of that show was relatively high. I would have expected more in line with 70%, based on people I know who admit to watching that show.

Interesting points about why Game of Thrones is pretty popular among women. While there certainly is a bit of sexism in the books (aka the wenching and the too casual description of rape as "just another part of war"), there are some great female characters. I certainly find characters like Dany, Arya, or Osha to be far more self-reliant than say Bella from Twilight or even Snookie from True Blood. I also like the fact that except for a few characters you don't have a bunch of badass warrior women running around in skimpy chainmail like you do in books like Dragonlance. That would be incredibly unrealistic for a culture like Westeros. Women are still powerful and deadly, but just like real life Medieval times they needed to rely on intrigue and indirect power. Brienne is an interesting character precisely because she is an aberration and a social outcast for being a really good woman warrior, in the same way Samwell is a social outcast for being more the bookish "band kid" rather than a stout defender of his family name.

jdzappa wrote:

Snookie from True Blood.

Aaaaaaaaahhhh!!

Yeeeeahhhh, Snookie is someone else. You mean Sookie.

I guess The Onion got into a bit of a mess by calling Quvenzhané Wallis the c-word.

I'm trying to parse my own feelings on this one. Initial response: well that's a horrible joke, I guess? And who the hell is Quvenzhané Wallis?

After reading who the girl actually is, I do at least understand what The Onion was going for. I've kind of come to the conclusion that The Onion was actually pretty close to a joke that worked, but they missed the mark. Maybe a different target, or different profanity, or some combination of the two, and they could've made a workable joke. But when you're going all in on the c-word, you'd better be damn sure you're doing it right.

gore wrote:

I guess The Onion got into a bit of a mess by calling Quvenzhané Wallis the c-word.

I'm trying to parse my own feelings on this one. Initial response: well that's a horrible joke, I guess? And who the hell is Quvenzhané Wallis?

After reading who the girl actually is, I do at least understand what The Onion was going for. I've kind of come to the conclusion that The Onion was actually pretty close to a joke that worked, but they missed the mark. Maybe a different target, or different profanity, or some combination of the two, and they could've made a workable joke. But when you're going all in on the c-word, you'd better be damn sure you're doing it right.

It would have worked, with the same target and same profanity, if it was a longer form piece on the website where it more obviously and directly parodied the kind of commentary Anne Hathaway has been attracting. As tweet, it's way too short to give the appropriate context so it simply doesn't read as satire and instead reads mainly as them insulting a 9 yr old girl.

Yes, a good joke is 100% execution. The moment you have to say "No, see, it's funny because-" you've failed.

DanB wrote:

It would have worked, with the same target and same profanity, if it was a longer form piece on the website where it more obviously and directly parodied the kind of commentary Anne Hathaway has been attracting. As tweet, it's way too short to give the appropriate context so it simply doesn't read as satire and instead reads mainly as them insulting a 9 yr old girl.

This is pretty much my take on it. And, to be fair, the risk of being constantly just at the edge of tasteless vs satirical is that sometimes you step on the wrong side. So I have no problem with people taking the Onion to task for screwing this one up - it's the price you have to pay when you use that sort of tactic.

On the other hand, I've seen about five articles that say it was racist, which I don't really get.

I find myself torn by the response to the various misogynies paraded at the Oscars. I mostly agree with people who are raising McFarland's misogyny as an example of terrible public behavior, but I'm finding myself really annoyed with the strident self-righteous tone these Jerimiads are delivered in.

McFarland's jokes did a nearly perfect job of highlighting that women are outsiders and not part of the boys club. The "We saw your boobs" song was really, epically bad. Much worse, IMHO, then leering or objectifying. Those are biologically understandable, if terrible manners. The song's only purpose is to shame women for having/showing breasts. I just really wish I was eloquent enough to point out my distaste for the misogyny without coming across as unfunny and self-righteous. McFarland can be a genius, but this show was crap. I wish I had a better way of expressing that without lecturing him, because self-righteous lectures don't do much other than preach to the converted. Plus, the Onion is a better example of why comics needs the freedom to fail.

The Onion, OTOH, is able to be genuinely hilarious and satirical only by running the risk of crossing a line. I'm not going to give them a pass, other than to note that they are like the court jester: only able to do their function by being free to say the unsayable. Now, it IS out of bounds for adults to use sexualized insults against children, but by going out of bounds so often, the Onion is able to hold up a mirror to our society that reserved voices can't pull off.

So I'm not sure I have a coherent message other than I found McFarland to be sexist in a tiresome and unfunny way and that I'm not surprised the Onion stepped in it: that's their business model after all. I'd much rather encourage good, funny non-sexist humor than to sternly lecture comedians on propriety. That's a losing game.

DanB wrote:

It would have worked, with the same target and same profanity, if it was a longer form piece on the website where it more obviously and directly parodied the kind of commentary Anne Hathaway has been attracting. As tweet, it's way too short to give the appropriate context so it simply doesn't read as satire and instead reads mainly as them insulting a 9 yr old girl.

I think you nailed it.

Oso wrote:

McFarland can be a genius, but this show was crap.

Citation needed

(Assuming you mean McFarlane (not to be pedantic!))

NPR said of MacFarlane (paraphrasing):

"unfunny and offensive"

I sure hope they weren't surprised, considering that's a pretty accurate depiction of McFarlane's entire career.

I thought npr's review was pretty shortsighted, actually.

I should note that due to the abject loathing I have for awards shows, I did not actually see MacFarlane's performance.

Also I am actually Seth MacFarlane. Surprise.

Seth wrote:

Surprise.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Yeeeeahhhh, Snookie is someone else. You mean Sookie. :)

Wow that was the worst typo I've ever made. Sookie is kind of a damsel in distress masquerading as a tough independent heroine. Snookie is the depraved servant of Lovecraftian elder gods masquerading as a human.

McFarland's jokes did a nearly perfect job of highlighting that women are outsiders and not part of the boys club. The "We saw your boobs" song was really, epically bad. Much worse, IMHO, then leering or objectifying. Those are biologically understandable, if terrible manners. The song's only purpose is to shame women for having/showing breasts. I just really wish I was eloquent enough to point out my distaste for the misogyny without coming across as unfunny and self-righteous. McFarland can be a genius, but this show was crap. I wish I had a better way of expressing that without lecturing him, because self-righteous lectures don't do much other than preach to the converted. Plus, the Onion is a better example of why comics needs the freedom to fail.

I get that the Onion needs to be edgy, but as a dad I completely cringed at calling a 9-year-old the big C.

As far as the boob song goes - wasn't it part of a montage where Shatner shows McFarlane why he's the worst host in the history of the Oscars? If I remember correctly, it was followed by a mock racist skit using "black sock" puppets. My takeaway was that it was meant to make McFarlane look like an immature ass rather than as an attempt to slut shame or make actresses feel inferior. It would of course been a whole lot funnier if he'd also sang "we saw your junk":

jdzappa wrote:

My takeaway was that it was meant to make McFarlane look like an immature ass rather than as an attempt to slut shame or make actresses feel inferior.

People have said that, others have said the same joke could have lasted 10 seconds and had him citing fewer films where the boobs appear in scenes where the character is being or has been raped.

Either way, McFarlane's best joke is how little I've ever laughed at his jokes. It's hilarious.